Winnipeg hits temperatures colder than Siberia
The freezing temperatures brought by polar air have created a handful of challenges for people across Manitoba -- but many of its residents have banded together to help the less fortunate.
Temperatures throughout the region have ranged from -33 C to -40 C, with the wind chill making it feel like -52 C at some points, according to Environment Canada. Some of those temperatures have made it feel colder than parts of Siberia.
On Wednesday night, an extreme cold warning was issued for Winnipeg, with wind chill values ranging from -40 C to -50 C.
To get warm, Winnipeg city officials are urging residents to seek shelter inside public facilities, like libraries and leisure centres, if they need a break from the cold.
Because of the high demand of service calls, a Canadian Automobile Association spokesperson said it had to suspend its home service and only could respond to callers in emergency or unsafe situations.
CAA Manitoba spokesperson Erika Miller told CTV Winnipeg that their employees were “working at full capacity.”
"We have all of our available drivers out there and we have a network of contractors out there -- not just in Winnipeg but in rural Manitoba,” she said.
Over the past week, CAA Manitoba has received more than 6,400 service calls -- with 3,300 of those calls involving car battery issues. On Tuesday alone, there was a record-setting 3,100 service calls.
On an average winter day, CAA Manitoba said it typically only sees between 300 and 600 calls.
But fortunately for some drivers -- who typically rely on CAA -- their neighbours stepped up to lend a helping hand.
Yrma Sarrondo had to rely one of her Facebook friends for help after her car wouldn’t start in the bitter cold.
"My friend Cory -- who's also from the neighbourhood -- came to boost my vehicle, and boost my neighbour's vehicle,” she told CTV Winnipeg.
When she found out CAA wasn’t offering home service, she put out the word for help on her neighborhood Facebook page. Within minutes, she received several offers to check out her car.
“It's friendly Manitoba and it warms your heart that neighbours are there to help,” Sarrondo said.
The Bear Clan Patrol, which is well-known for its walking patrols in the city, is offering up its new headquarters for vulnerable people looking for a place to avoid the bitter cold weather during the day.
“This is a permanent presence in the community where we can be here as long as we need,” James Favel, executive director of the group, told CTV Winnipeg. “What we're seeing is a lot of males are using the service now.”
“In this community there's a lot of places for children. There's a lot of places for women and things like that, but there's very little for men to do pro-social activities and stuff like that. So we're trying to offer that up as well,” he explained.
Favel estimates about approximately 600 people have already come through in the past six days. He added that donations of warm clothing, food and supplies have also been dropped off at their headquarters.
Transit riders brave the cold
CTV Winnipeg spoke to several shivering transit riders who said it felt like they were waiting an eternity at the bus shelters.
"What's that like on a day like today? It's freezing -- I can't feel anything,” one commuter said. Another person said, “if I hadn't had to pay the rent today, I wouldn't have stuck my nose out the door.”
A Winnipeg Transit spokesperson offered commuters some comfort by saying riders shouldn’t expect any delays due to the cold.
Additionally, parents in the province will need to drop off their children tomorrow morning, as will be no school buses running in all Winnipeg school divisions on Thursday.